She thought Covid had killed her career… but it was only the beginning
When Victoria first went into Stage 3 Covid lockdown in April this year, Jess Ure was convinced her Pilates career was over.
A Pilates instructor for four years, and manager of a small studio in Ballarat, Jess had everything she wanted and needed from her job – it was close to home, she had great colleagues, a schedule that worked around her young family, and she was doing what she loved: teaching Pilates.
Yet like so many businesses, the studio was forced to close when Stage 3 restrictions were enforced, leaving Jess cut off from her work and her passion.
To survive the lockdown and restore a little normality to her world, Jess created short videos of Pilates flow sequences and shared them on social media.
“Creating the short sequences gave me a focus – something I could work on during the lockdown, and hopefully help others to get moving and start feeling positive again. I didn’t really expect anyone to watch them, much less do them. I was only doing it to keep myself motivated.
“At that stage I still believed it was all a temporary situation. I was waiting for restrictions to be lifted and the studio to reopen, so I could go back to teaching.”
Then, most unexpectedly, Jess learned the studio would not reopen. She was officially out of work; but it was far from career ending. In fact, without even realising it, Jess’s new career path had already begun.
The social media clips were receiving a lot of attention, with many people messaging and commenting on their progress from home and how much they enjoyed the sessions. They were also asking for more.
So, with a little nudge from the family, and a quick Google search, Mind Body Balance Pilates went from a social media page to a registered business.
“I was definitely nervous, as it was all happening so fast. I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions – at times it seemed like a great idea, then the doubt would creep in. Was I even capable of running my own businesses? Was it smart to start something new while the country was in lockdown?”
However, the Covid lockdown showed Jess a few key factors that helped get the businesses up and running.
“I knew people were looking for new ways to be active at home. The social media clips had proven that. Everyone was spending a lot less time moving around, doing their daily activities. There was an opportunity there for me to help and I was so excited.
“My biggest discovery was learning that I didn’t have to be in the same room as people to have a positive impact. It opened my mind to the amazing opportunity to share my passion and develop it into a business. I simply transitioned my short clips into online mat Pilates classes.”
Choosing a name for the business was another natural transition. In the early stages of lockdown, Jess used Pilates to keep her body moving and balance her mind to manage the many emotions she was feeling, following the studio closure.
“The goal of Pilates is to achieve a balance between body and mind. My sessions are designed to calm the mind, develop self-control and body awareness, all while sculpting the muscles in our body. Pilates had helped me so much already, Mind Body Balance Pilates just made sense.”
As restrictions eased, Jess was able to expand her business. She transformed her garage into a Pilates studio, to offer in-person 1:1 reformer Pilates and mat Pilates classes.
“It’s been so exciting to create my studio space and really bring the business to life. The whole Mind Body Balance Pilates experience is about helping my clients discover, create and nurture the happiest, healthiest version of themselves. I want people to feel inspired and challenged to achieve things with their body that they didn't think were possible, and to feel fabulous afterwards.
“Everyone starts with doubt about what they can do. I want my clients to learn that they are capable of far more than they realise.
“It’s the most magical feeling to lead a client outside their comfort zone and to achieve their goal. They gain so much confidence and pride in themselves, and it‘s amazing that they trust me to teach them.”
Starting her own business had not been in the plans, but Jess isn’t looking back now. Her career has only just begun, and she’s happier than ever.
“I’m really surprised at how easy it’s been: the ideas, the inspiration; it’s all flowed and evolved so naturally.
“I am a big believer that all things happen for a reason. “I was devastated when my previous job ended, but now I have created my very own business, with a community of the most beautiful and supportive clients. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
“The sky's the limit and I cannot wait to see where this adventure takes me."
Jess currently offers online mat Pilates classes, in studio mat classes and 1:1 reformer Pilates sessions.
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